Frequently Asked Questions

(Click each heading to view the answer)

Introduction to the Well

The Well International operates under a recognized Thai foundation: "The Well Foundation" (ต้นนำ้แห่งชีวิต). It exists to provide supportive care for people (individuals, families and organizations) who are involved in various kinds of cross-cultural ministry. The Well seeks to work preventively by caring for people’s spiritual, emotional and relational well-being.

The stresses of living and working cross-culturally often lead to personal or organizational concerns. Outside guidance and support is often very helpful and The Well providers, with a wide range of training and backgrounds, offer their services to help in these various needs.

You may have questions as to what The Well can offer you. The answers to those questions can be found by browsing our "Services" tab or by further exploring our FAQ.

What do you mean by "Member Care"?

"Member Care" is a broad term that can encompass any service given by an organization to provide supportive care to its members, with the goal of enhancing their lives and work so they can continue in their work in a healthy and productive manner.

In our context, however, it primarily involves providing for the spiritual, emotional, and relational needs of Christian cross-cultural workers, their family members, or the teams/organizations of which they are a part.

Why are there two member care centres in Chiang Mai and what's the difference?

In 1998 a number of people from several different organizations who were interested in member care began to network together. They saw the need to encourage each other and to increase the member care services available to people in this part of the world. From this networking group, The Well began in 1999 under the leadership of Harry Hoffman. Over the years, The Well grew as a member care resource and attracted people from several different helping disciplines including counselling, pastoral care, and prayer ministries.

The network of member care providers saw the need for additional counselling services to be available in Chiang Mai. Under the leadership of Dr. Timothy Friesen and with the help of the Narramore Christian Foundation, Cornerstone Counseling Centre was established in the fall of 2004, later becoming Cornerstone Counseling Foundation (CCF).

Since that time, these two sister organizations, though having different primary purposes, have continued to work together to provide member care services in Chiang Mai and throughout Asia. Cornerstone focuses primarily on counselling and treatment services by U.S. licensed therapists, whereas The Well focuses on broader member care and preventive services, which also include clinical counselling. We encourage you to look at both web sites, and, to get a better idea of the services and personnel at each agency.

How much do the services cost?

The Well provides services on a donation basis. All of the non-Thai providers are volunteers and do not receive compensation for their services. Donations are essential in helping us cover our operational expenses such as rent, utilities, Thai-staff salaries and benefits and many other day-to-day costs. Visit our Donate page to see our suggested donations.

What are your hours?

Visit our Contact Us page to see our hours of service. Emergency situations may lead to other arrangements being made on a case-by-case basis. However, for the health and well-being of our staff, we do not generally see people in the evenings or on week-ends.

Who gets the "report" on my counselling sessions?

Since The Well is an independent organization, our services are considered confidential and no reports will be given, orally or in writing, without your written permission, given on a “Release of Information” form. In some circumstances there are arrangements made previously prior to our time with you, in which you agree for us to communicate with your agency in some fashion. The limits of that communication remain yours to decide.

We do operate under the usual professional limits on confidentiality in cases of “duty to warn” and “mandated reporting” situations. The former pertains to situations in which a person is potentially dangerous to him/herself or others. The latter involves situations in which minor children or the elderly are being and/or have been seriously abused.

Can I express preference for a specific member care provider?

Yes, we would like for you to let us know your preference of provider and service that you are requesting. After reading the profiles of the service providers, you may have a preference based on various factors important to you – the person’s areas of interest or expertise, their gender or age, their type of training, or their reputation. Of course, that person may not be available when you are, so we will do our best to match you with the best service provider available for your needs at that time.

How long do I need to see a member care provider?

It is very difficult to know how long you will need to see someone until we have a better idea of the nature and extent of the issues you want to discuss. An initial assessment time of 1-2 sessions (if you are local) or initial email or phone contact (if you are from away) will hopefully give some guidelines. If you are coming from a distance, we will try to provide as much contact time as possible for your situation during the time you have available here in Chiang Mai.

Can I come back to see the same member care provider at a later time?

Yes, within the usual limits of time availability and if the provider is present in Chiang Mai.

If I do not live in Chiang Mai, how can I arrange to receive services?

Many cross-cultural workers living in surrounding countries have come to Chiang Mai for a period of one week to two months to receive care. This is initiated with an email to who will then begin to make plans with you, once it is determined that we are the appropriate place for you to come and that we have the appropriate service providers available.

Where can I stay in Chiang Mai? Can you help me with arrangements?

There are many places to stay in Chiang Mai at many different price levels. We generally do not get involved in making housing arrangements since there are so many individual differences in need, finances, and ability to get around in Chiang Mai.

How do I get to The Well? What kind of transportation is available?

There are several forms of public transportation available in Chiang Mai: metered taxi, tuk-tuk, and red song-thaew (a form of covered pickup truck with two benches in the back) which will take you wherever you would like for a negotiated price.

We advise you to look at our map and print out directions to our office here.

Is childcare provided?

While we do not officially provide childcare we are able to help you organise a babysitter to meet you at The Well during your sessions. Our family counselling room has an adjoining play room with access to the garden and outdoor play area that will also allow you to keep an eye on older children during your sessions. Please communicate with your provider about organising childcare options

Does The Well use Skype to provide services?

Skype or some other voice over internet service may be used on a case-by-case basis to provide counselling, debriefing, spiritual direction or an initial assessment to help you determine what would be most appropriate for your needs. While convenient, counselling over internet is not right for many situations. Please communicate with your provider to determine whether or not it will be a good fit for you.